By MADISON HIRNEISEN
THE CENTER SQUARE STAFF REPORTER
(The Center Square) — After lengthy, closed-door deliberations over who should lead the California Assembly, lawmakers announced late Tuesday that Speaker Anthony Rendon will remain in his position through at least the end of the legislative session.
The decision, announced following a six-hour meeting to lawmakers in the Democratic Caucus, comes after Assemblymember Robert Rivas, D-Hollister, announced Friday that he had secured enough votes to succeed Rendon as speaker.
As it turns out, Assemblymember Rivas does have enough support from the Democratic Caucus to succeed Mr. Rendon as Assembly speaker, but that won’t happen right away.
“I agree with the majority of our current caucus that Speaker Rendon should remain as speaker for at least the rest of this legislative session,” Mr. Rivas said in a statement Tuesday. “I look forward to working with him for the betterment of California and the unity of the Assembly Democratic Caucus.”
Mr. Rendon, who has held the position of speaker since 2016, is set to be termed out of the Legislature in 2024, meaning the Assembly would need to elect a new speaker after his departure.
“I applaud Robert Rivas for securing the support of a majority of the current Democratic Caucus to succeed me as speaker of the Assembly,” said Speaker Anthony Rendon. “Assemblymember Rivas has brought together a broad and diverse coalition that reflects the high esteem in which he is held by our colleagues.”
It’s unclear, however, how shifts in the Assembly could impact the support Mr. Rivas has to succeed Mr. Rendon as speaker. The November general election will bring in a fresh class to the Assembly, and 13 Democrats will be leaving at the end of this session, according to CalMatters.
Assemblymember Rivas had previously announced Friday that he had secured enough votes from the Democratic Caucus to succeed Speaker Rendon. He was complimentary of Mr. Rendon’s time in the position, saying he was an “effective and unifying speaker,” noting that he was “confident a smooth transition of power is a shared value of ours.”
Mr. Rivas also noted that he will be the first Assembly speaker “in the modern era to represent a rural district.” Most recently, however, two previous Assembly speakers, Cruz Bustamante (1996-1998) and Brian Setencich (1995-1996), represented rural districts as the speaker, according to Alex Vassar, the communications manager at the California State Library.
Madison Hirneisen covers California for The Center Square.